The tragic life of Redmond O'Neal

Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal were once Hollywood's golden couple. The blonde-haired Charlie's Angels starlet was an icon of the '70s — Fawcett's 1976 swimsuit photo was the best-selling poster of all time, gracing bedroom walls and dorm rooms throughout the country. O'Neal, on the other hand, was a total heartthrob: As film critic Michael Tueth put it in his book, Reeling with Laughter: American Film Comedies: From Anarchy to Mockumentary, O'Neal's career began by playing a "rich and hunky teenage love interest" on the popular '60s soap opera, Peyton Place. Together, the two were one of Tinseltown's most beautiful duos. Vanity Fair writer Leslie Bennetts once mused that their "slot in the pop-culture firmament" can be comparable to modern day's "Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie." Woah.

When the couple finally gave birth to their only son, Redmond O'Neal, in 1985, you'd have thought the youngster would grow up in the glitz and glam alongside his parents. Think again. "We started fighting about Redmond by the time he was three," Ryan O'Neal explained to Vanity Fair. In a household reportedly filled with turbulence and deceit, it's no wonder their son has been riding his own harrowing roller coaster throughout life. This is the tragic story of Redmond O'Neal.

Redmond O'Neal's parents were never married

Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal's partnership miraculously withstood decades of commotion. According to People, the two met in 1979, falling in love immediately. They stayed together until their split in 1997, reuniting only a short four years later when O'Neal was diagnosed with leukemia. The actor later stayed by Fawcett's side during her tragic fight with cancer. As her close friend, Sylvia Dorsey, dished to the mag, "They fought and loved with passion."

However, that passion also came with volatility. In an interview with Vanity Fair, O'Neal revealed a situation that seemed like the norm in their household: On Fawcett's 60th birthday, he shot at his son, Griffin, purposely missing him: "Farrah was lying in bed, and she could hear it all — fights, swinging, gunshots. Welcome to the O'Neals'!"

Now that his children are adults, the former Hollywood hunk admitted that he hadn't been a good parent. "I'm a hopeless father," he confessed. "I don't know why. I don't think I was supposed to be a father. Just look around at my work — they're either in jail or they should be." Although O'Neal and Fawcett were together for three decades, they never married. "We didn't want to do what other people wanted us to do," he explained. "We were rebels. But now I would do it in a second ... Our son [Redmond] would love it."

He hasn't had a successful career like his parents

There's a reason why Ryan O'Neal and Farrah Fawcett were a part of Hollywood's elite in the 1970s. The blue-eyed Fawcett shot to fame in 1976 with the release of the crime-fighting series, Charlie's Angels. "She was beautiful and likable, which is a hard combination to find," co-producer Leonard Goldberg told Vanity Fair. "I had never seen anyone have an impact like Farrah did. It was like an avalanche; it was instantaneous ... It was just a phenomenon. She was enormous."

Meanwhile, O'Neal was busy assuming the role of a Hollywood bad boy. "He took Anouk Aimée away from Albert Finney just by walking into a room and meeting her!" a nameless Hollywood A-lister recalled to Vanity Fair, gaping at the ease at which the Love Story star successfully seduced. 

While fans can instantly recognize Fawcett's iconic, feathered hairstyle, not much can be said about her son, Redmond O'Neal, who hasn't had the most successful career. An actor in his own right, albeit one who has only been in children's cartoons, Redmond has lent his voice to Skateboard Boy on Johnny Bravo and Squirt in The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars.

Redmond O'Neal has been to rehab countless times

With so much reported conflict in his house growing up, it's not all that surprising that Redmond O'Neal turned to drug use as a means to escape reality. "It's not the drugs that have been a problem, it's the psychological trauma of my entire life," the troubled celeb heartbreakingly revealed to Radar Online. "My whole life experiences have affected me the most."

As for those experiences? Some of them may have come from the turbulent partnership that belonged to Redmond's parents. For starters, Ryan O'Neal's alleged volatility due to his own substance abuse. As his son, Griffin, told Vanity Fair, "This man was under the influence the whole freaking time." Meanwhile, watching Farrah Fawcett go from A-list beauty to starring in made-for-TV flicks supposedly damaged her ego, and ultimately led to a drinking problem. As her longtime partner revealed to the mag, "If she drank, she got a little crazy — mean. She tried to kick me out of the car once, and I was driving!"

This left Redmond to battle his own vices. The voice actor has tried to get clean numerous times — unfortunately unsuccessfully. "He's been in 13 rehabs," his father explained to Vanity Fair. "He's had a terrible life ... You be my kid ... He's been in rehabs all over the United States and Mexico. We're just thankful he doesn't have H.I.V." 

He's also had run-ins with the law

Along with his rehab stints, it looks like jail is also a revolving door for Redmond O'Neal. According to NBC Chicago, Redmond's run-ins with the law started in 2005, when he was placed on probation for an arrest "related to methamphetamine and cocaine possession charges." He was then arrested yet again in 2008 on drug charges and allegedly driving under the influence. As the site went on, 2009 saw the police bust both Redmond and his father on methamphetamine charges. The story gets a bit murky here, since Ryan O'Neal later painted a different picture to Vanity Fair: "It wasn't mine — I had taken it away from him the night before."

As time went on, Redmond's arrests got progressively worse. According to Radar Online, he was sentenced to three years in prison in 2015 for reportedly violating his probation drug case. However, surprisingly enough, he was released nearly two years early due to overcrowding. 

Sadly, Redmond's freedom didn't last long. In 2018, the troubled celeb allegedly tried robbing a convenience store at gunpoint while under the influence. As reported by The Blast, "According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, O'Neal was hit with six counts related to his arrest: one count each of second-degree robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a smoking device, possession of an injection/ingestion device and two counts of possessing a controlled substance."

Redmond O'Neal ended up on the street due to his addiction

Although both Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal had what seemed like infinite amounts of money, it still didn't stop Redmond O'Neal from ending up on the street — even temporarily. 

"He has addictions he can't control," Ryan explained to Vanity Fair during his tell-all conversation with the mag. "He never had any money; he never had a car; he never had a driver's license." Heartbreakingly, he went on, "He's never been out on the street for a year, because whatever he did, he got caught. He got arrested in prison with heroin in his pocket!"

It's not that his father is his only support system, either. In fact, his half-siblings only want what's best for Redmond, too. Speaking to Larry King on CNN's Larry King Live, Griffin O'Neal revealed, "His drug of choice, Larry, is more ... And, you know, he needs to love himself ... He is an amazing individual. I had so many good dreams for him." As for Redmond's half-sister, Tatum O'Neal, she detailed his substance abuse problem in her memoir, A Paper Life (via People): "I wanted him to have a safe place to put his head down, not on the streets and not with his dealer ... He's been so kind to me. I try to love him so he can love himself."

He attended his mother's funeral in shackles

Farrah Fawcett remained a Hollywood legend even after her death in 2009. Remembered as the iconic, original Charlie's Angels blonde, Fawcett also had immense dignity. "There's a strange stubbornness in her. She won't take s**t," Ryan O'Neal told Vanity Fair. "She had a stubborn streak of pride and righteousness."

It's that righteousness that came into play when the starlet was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006. According to The Guardian, Fawcett wanted her entire battle with cancer to be filmed on camera by her best friend, Alana Stewart. "She was projectile vomiting and she looks up at me and says, 'Why aren't you filming this? This is what cancer is,'" Stewart explained in the final product, Farrah's Story.

Another poignant moment of the documentary sees Redmond O'Neal visiting his mother in the hospital during her final days. As The Guardian retold it, Redmond is "seen on camera in his prison jumpsuit, having his handcuffs taken off by an accompanying guard, but remaining shackled at the ankles as he bends close to his mother over the bed and says: 'Mommy? It's Redmond. It's your son.'" After Fawcett finally passed away, Redmond, still in handcuffs, attended her funeral. Detailing the matter to Vanity Fair, Ryan bluntly revealed, "They kept him in chains; he was a pallbearer with handcuffs."

Are Redmond O'Neal's parents to blame for his drug problem?

With all of Redmond O'Neal's problems, where should the fingers be pointed at? Was it his upbringing that was the culprit? The troubled celeb seems to think so — and it's something he's been very vocal about. 

During an interview from prison with Radar Online, Redmond tried to explain, "Fighting with my father, being kicked out and living on the streets, going to jail, being put in a psychiatric ward, being embarrassed all the time, just because of who my parents are. The pressure that came with that set off a time-bomb in my head. I never asked for any of this, I never wanted any attention." Unfortunately for Redmond, thanks to all his troubles, all he has been getting is attention.

In an attempt to explain his half-brother's addiction, Griffin O'Neal seemed to attest to their childhood home becoming a breeding ground for Redmond's habits. "Redmond hung out with Ryan a lot, because Ryan allowed the drug use. He allowed the drug use in the house. And that was one of the reasons me and my dad fought," Griffin explained on CNN's Larry King Live. "They party together. They were both arrested. My dad had more dope on him than Redmond did. This isn't the '70s anymore."

Farrah Fawcett enrolled Redmond O'Neal in a behavior modification program

There's no denying that Farrah Fawcett and her only son were very close while he was growing up. As Redmond O'Neal's half-brother, Griffin O'Neal, dished on CNN's Larry King Live, "He was her pride and joy."

However, once the angsty celeb started getting in trouble, the legendary actress reportedly took some drastic measures — specifically, enrolling Redmond in an intense facility. "She put Redmond in a place we couldn't get him out of for 18 months, a behavior-modification program where they beat the shit out of him because he had been caught for marijuana," Ryan O'Neal told Vanity Fair. "He lay on the floor for 36 hours, refusing to say he was sorry. This was our son!"

Although she was the one who reportedly placed him in the bizarre program, Fawcett still loved her son fiercely. In an interview with People, close friend Mela Murphy revealed that the last thing Fawcett said was Redmond's name before she passed: "I told her I'd take care of him, that I'll always be there for him. I said, 'You can go now.' It was just a few hours before she died." Along with uttering her son's name, Fawcett also reportedly left $4.5 million for Redmond in her will — and nothing for her long-term partner, Ryan.

Redmond O'Neal has been charged with attempted murder

It seems that as time goes on, things are only going from bad to worse for Redmond O'Neal. In 2018, news broke of another horrifying crime allegedly committed by the tormented celeb — only weeks after he was arrested for holding up a convenience store at gunpoint. This time, he faced an attempted murder charge.

The gruesome story was revealed by Radar Online, detailing that O'Neal reportedly went on a "crime spree" on the Venice Beach Boardwalk, landing in an altercation that resulted in himself stabbing a man with a knife. In a press release that the goss site obtained from the LAPD, "Paramedics discovered that the victim had sustained serious stab wounds to the left side of his body." Shortly after this real-life nightmare, witnesses saw another man "laying in a pool of blood." Per Radar Online, it was revealed that the second alleged victim was Anton Folkerson, an aspiring actor who "spent two days in a coma" after the attack. Redmond had reportedly "plunged a knife three-and-a-half inches into Anton's brain before slitting his throat along the carotid artery."

The entire report sounds too harrowing to be true, and it's perhaps Tatum O'Neal who predicted it best back in 2015. Speaking to People, Redmond's half-sister said, "I love him, but I have never seen a more scary side of addiction ... Nobody knows what to do with Redmond."

Is Redmond O'Neal incompetent to stand trial?

At the time of this writing, it's unclear what will happen to Redmond O'Neal for his 2018 attempted murder charges. What we do know, however, is that the son of Hollywood's former golden couple has been ruled incompetent to stand trial.

According to Radar Online, Redmond "must be treated at a state mental hospital before he can face serious felony charges." He will then continue with psychological treatments until he is ready to stand trial, having been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. In court documents obtained by Radar Online, forensic psychologist Nancy Kaser-Boyd wrote in her evaluation of the star, "Regarding his most recent charge, both his self-report and collateral information from his long-term family physician indicated that Mr. O'Neal said he heard voices that told him to kill someone, which ultimately led his current charges related to attacking the victim by stabbing him. He reported that he continues to hear auditory hallucinations, and the voices entail negative self-talk, and themes about people being out to get him."

With the whole world focusing on his alleged crimes, O'Neal's godmother, Mela Murphy, is instead focusing on the help he will get at a hospital. "It's a huge relief for Redmond," she told Radar Online. "It's the beginning of a chance."

Redmond O'Neal's IQ has disintegrated from his addiction

What's most tragic in Redmond O'Neal's difficult life is his drug abuse, which has ultimately led to his alleged mental downfall. In a report obtained by Radar Online, Dr. Annette Ermshar, a forensic neuropsychologist "who conducted the face-to-face tests in jail," concluded that Redmond has "ranked in the lowest percentile of brain functioning even when compared to others who also suffer from schizophrenia." 

During the tests, the celeb reportedly scored an "impaired" range on "verbal, intelligence and learning tests, which meant the 34-year old scored in the very bottom range in visuospatial abilities, delayed memory, and general neurocognitive functioning." Heartbreakingly enough, O'Neal's godmother, Mela Murphy, told the goss site the star has reportedly lost his grasp on reality. "He's been very scared and extremely confused," she said. "At times he says to me, 'Why am I here? Why can't you take me to rehab? Why can't you get me out of here and take me to Stockton hospital?'" Remembering that he was once a "sweet boy" as a child, Murphy has known Redmond his entire life. 

As 2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of Farrah Fawcett's passing, we here at Nicki Swift hope the entire O'Neal family finally finds peace.